Ceviche! That mysterious, complexly simple, most delicious of Latin seafood dishes almost sent Mary Sue Milliken to pack her knives early on Top Chef Masters this week. Yes, Mary Sue Milliken! One half of the Too Hot Tamales. Co-Queen of Southwest flavors... if anyone should know ceviche, it's Mary Sue Milliken!
There is something about cooking seafood in citrus juice that defies everything we ever learned about cooking. And yet, somehow, it works. I thought that I would share my favorite ceviche recipe with you just in case you were curious and wanted to give ceviche a try. Don't let it scare you, I practically live on ceviche during the summers. There is no oven to heat up, no charcoal smoke to perfume your hair... just cool, refreshing seafood on a salty chip that makes my Diet Pepsi with lime taste that much better.
My favorite ceviche is a combination of the freshest shrimp, bay scallops and calamari you can get your hands on. Toss it with diced southwest ingredients in a citrus marinade and spoon it into martini glasses for a little glitz or serve it in a large bowl surrounded by chips. Stretch your budget as far as you need to by adding more vegetables or tropical fruit.
If you are new to ceviche and aren't quite sure you want to go completely "raw," I've included directions on how to briefly poach the seafood before marinating it in citrus juice.
2 quarts salted, boiling water
2 quarts cold water and enough ice to make a ice bath
8 0z fresh bay scallops
8 oz fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into pieces that match the bay scallops
8 oz fresh calamari rings
½ small jicama, peeled and diced
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 oranges, segmented and diced
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
½ red onion finely diced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1 or two avocados, diced
½ cup tomato juice (optional)
To poach the shrimp, bring the water to a boil and salt as you would pasta water. Set up an ice bath and have ready.
Add diced shrimp and bay scallops to boiling water. Boil for two minutes. Add calamari and boil for one more minute. Do not over cook. Drain immediately and shock in the ice bath to stop the cooking.
Mix together the orange, lime and lemon juices with the diced red onion, jalapeno and minced cilantro. Add the seafood and chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
If you do not poach the shrimp and would like to go "authentico," Marinate the seafood for 45 minutes to one hour. Make sure the seafood is freely floating in the citrus marinade.
Drain off most of the marinade.
Toss with diced jicama, cucumber and oranges.
Add the tomato juice if desired.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, but remember, there was salt in the poaching liquid.
Spoon into martini glasses or a large bowl and garnish with freshly diced avocado and cilantro.
Tips for stretching ceviche to feed a larger crowd.
Increase amount of shrimp or use shrimp only.
Add more jicama, cucumbers, oranges, avocados and another jalapeno.
Add diced tomatoes and onions for inexpensive ways to stretch ceviche.
Serve with lots of tortilla chips.